Pakistan ban Akhtar for five years

Islamabad, April 1:

Pakistan banned maverick paceman Shoaib Akhtar from playing cricket for five years on Tuesday for violating the players’ code of conduct.

Akhtar, 32, appeared before a disciplinary committee earlier today charged with publicly criticising the country’s board. He was already on two years’ probation for hitting a teammate with a bat. The ban effectively ends the controversial eleven-year career of the world’s fastest bowler, which has been plagued by injuries, discipline problems and a doping scandal in 2007.

“The committee has recommended a five year-ban on Shoaib Akthar. He will be ineligible to play in Pakistan or to play for Pakistan anywhere else,” PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said. “The board has lost confidence in Shoaib Akhtar and therefore felt that his presence in the field was damaging to the Pakistan team, for Pakistan players and for the image of Pakistan cricket,” he added.

However Ashraf said that Akhtar would still be able to play for other teams around the world, clearing the fast bowler to play for the Indian Premier League next month.

Ashraf added that it was a “sad day for me and for Shoaib Akhtar.” He said Akhtar had the right to appeal the decision.

Already on probation, Akhtar faced a theoretical life ban for slamming the PCB for dual standards on awarding central contracts in January.